Voyage in Coma - This five-piece lines up in front of stacks of Marshalls with a couple of guitars, rhythm section, and vocalist/provocateur. I knew we would likely have an interesting punk show tonight, but it became a really good and interesting punk show quite quickly here. This band was a perfectly balanced shoegaze/hardcore band and I have not quite heard anything like this. More importantly, it was really good. Back in the early 80s I probably knew of over 80% of the hardcore bands with records and no one came up with something like this. Of course, My Bloody Valentine was not around either so new sounds were still forming. These guys combine all of this nicely and delivered a sharp, loud and exciting 25 minute set. I will be keeping my eyes open for future shows.
Cannons - This is one of those trios where all three guys really have their chops down and contribute more than they might if they were in a five or six piece band. And this Philly outfit may write about the most creative punk/hardcore band I have seen in a while. The first song had all three members taking a lead vocal spot in the song. The melodies shifted, punk speed and power was there, solid rock underpinnings present... bases covered and playing field expanded here. They reminded me of Mission of Burma with more of a California punk sense of melody. Perhaps the children of Ruin..., my favorites from Philadelphia who never quite put it altogether as they could have. Hopefully this band will, as their brand of post-punk (not the traditional use of the term) is quite exciting... and it rocks.
The Mostly Dead - For two weeks I was planning on seeing 10,000 Maniacs until this smaller (but well attended) punk show pulled at me like punk shows generally do. I have always found the Mostly Dead to have a great traditional hardcore punk sound, but with enough creative touches to make them one of the more unique bands on a given night. But tonight, they were the one band closest to tradition, but still had their great personal touch. And kudos to this band for choosing such great bands to play with. As for the Mostly Dead sound, I always enjoy Zak's raspy vocal work that has loads of power and energy on top of the thick slab of music. The drummer is solid, while the guitarist places some nice touches within the usual power chords to keep attention levels high. Their new bass player adds some great energy to the proceedings as he looks like he's having a blast. They built the energy level of their set nicely by getting slightly into each song just a little bit more than the last. After their half-hour set based on the ovation I heard (now and for the earlier bands), I am sure the crowd was quite happy they came to the Black Cat tonight.
Quote of the Night: "I got my allowance" overheard discussion between a couple of youngsters with Xes on their hands standing near me. Although that's just one more thing to make me feel old, I am actually quite happy seeing so many Xed out kids in club audiences these days. Live music is still a great pursuit.